It’s not a holiday without a little ‘Plaid Tidings’
By Diana Saenger
ContributorWho better to usher in the holiday season than writer, director and choreographer Stuart Ross with his “Plaid Tidings: A Special Holiday Edition of Forever Plaid” at the Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park. With its heartfelt story, wonderful holiday tunes and terrific performances by the Plaid Tidings lads, the production will offer superb family entertainment, Nov. 27–Dec. 26.
The Holiday Edition of “Tidings” continues the story that recalls how four teens in a singing group lost their lives in a tragic accident. But, thanks to a heavenly phone call from their idol, Rosemary Clooney, a way for them to return to Earth and entertain fans with tunes like “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and “Let It Snow” surfaces. Anyone who has seen this long-running show, (staged at The Old Globe in 1991) can’t deny its nostalgic appeal.
Ross knows why it has remained so popular. “It’s all about rooting for the underdog because these guys don’t believe how good they are,” Ross said. “They didn’t have much of a life, but what they had was a unique and passionate take on music.”
Portraying the Plaids are David Brannen (“Grinch,” “Crazy For You,” “Singin’ in the Rain,” “Big River,” “A Chorus Line”) as Sparky; Leo Daignault (originated the role of Jinx in “Plaid Tidings,” “Grinch,” “Avenue Q,” “The Scarlet Pimpernel,” “Forever Plaid” Boston, San Diego, Tokyo and Chicago) as Jinx; Jason Heil (“31 Bond,” “Cabaret,” “The Taming of the Shrew,” “Dracula,” “Zhivago”) as Smudge; and Michael Winther (“The Boys from Syracuse,” “Falsettos,” “Songs from an Unmade Bed,” Globe’s “King Lear,” “Damn Yankees,” “Forever Plaid”) as Frankie.
Ross (“Breaking Up,” “The Boswell Sisters,” “A Leap of Faith,” “Enter Laughing: The Musical”) said his inspiration for creating the show began when he was a kid.
“I had a 14-year-old brother, and I loved the record covers on his 45s,” he said. “I remember the groups, like the Four Aces and some of the females with their bare shoulders and head titled back. They were made for romance. I loved the art work and the logos, and spent hours just rearranging them.”
Receiving an invite from The Globe’s Executive Producer Lou Spisto to bring “Tidings” back for another season was thrilling said Ross.
“There’s a new energy to the show, and I’m particularly excited to be doing it in the round in the Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre.”
If you go
What:“Plaid Tidings: A Special Holiday Edition of Forever Plaid”
When:Matinees, evenings Nov. 27–Dec. 26
Where:The Old Globe’s Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre, 1363 Old Globe Way, Balboa Park